VMI cadets train on SML with the Marine Vol. Fire Department

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 5:11 PM EDT
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HUDDLESTON, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia Military Institute cadets have been out training in the water at Mitchell’s Point Marina with the Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire Department and Sea Tow.

At Monday’s Naval ROTC Midshipman training, the cadets learned about fire boat vessel operations, giving them a chance to practice what they’ve learned in the classroom.

“It’s easy to forget your motivations while you’re spending so much time not practicing the skills you’re learning, so getting out here and being able to use all the knowledge that we’ve accrued so far, by far has been once of the coolest experiences,” VMI sophomore Alex Feher said.

This training is helping Feher prepare for his future role as a a service warfare officer in the Navy after graduation.

”We don’t get to do this very often, so being able to come out here is definitely a unique opportunity for me,” Feher said.

The Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire Department gave their time to help teach new skills to the future Navy cadets over the course of three days, with 10 cadets per day.

“It gives them a chance to get their hands on it and feel what it’s really like to control a fire boat, small boat operations for those going in the Navy, for firefighting, what the pressure is on a hose-line, and how to keep safe when you’re out on the water,” said Neil Harrington, volunteer firefighter for SML Marine Volunteer Fire Rescue.

“They’re looking at the sea tow vessels, they’re learning about basic communications, they’re doing some radio checks and then when we take them out, they’re going to be towing operations,” Lt. Emily Shrum, Lt., a naval science instructor with VMI, added.

This is the first training event of this kind, since in the past, the cadets trained at a naval base in Norfolk, which is now shut down because of the pandemic. The Marine Volunteer Fire Department, Sea Tow and VMI all hope to continue this program every year.

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